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Members of the Young Catholic Musicians did some sight-seeing at Nathan Phillips Square in downtown Toronto. The group was on an eight-day trip, singing at various locations in South Bend, Ind., and Toronto, Canada.
Members of the Young Catholic Musicians did some sight-seeing at Nathan Phillips Square in downtown Toronto. The group was on an eight-day trip, singing at various locations in South Bend, Ind., and Toronto, Canada.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Chris Emke

Young Catholic Musicians impress during tour through South Bend and Toronto

Members of the Young Catholic Musicians performed, explored and one even received royal treatment during their annual summer tour June 2 to 10.

The 28 musicians visited South Bend, Ind., as well as Toronto, Ontario, and performed their set, largely composed of show tunes and pop music from the 1950s on, a total of seven times.

The trip was “awesome, probably the best tour I’ve ever been on,” said Mary Sharp, the president of the group for this past year. Sharp has attended 13 tours with the group, including five summer tours, and has been with the group as a singer for eight years. She described the group’s work as “really a team effort.”

Led by Father Bruce Forman, the group’s trip started in St. Louis, where it performed for family and friends before boarding a bus to South Bend. They performed there at Holy Family Parish and stayed the night with hosts, including a recently widowed woman. The students sent her postcards throughout the rest of the trip.

Haley Miller, rising president of the group and member as a singer for six years, was among the students who wrote to her, and cited this as one of her favorite parts of the trip.

“There’s always something very special about people who let you into their house,” Miller said.

After Indiana, the musicians’ bus drove to Toronto, the first time out of the country for many. The group performed four concerts around the city, at locations such as Canada’s Wonderland, the Ontario Science Center and Catholic schools.

In addition to their performances, the group went sightseeing around the city, visiting places such as the Toronto Zoo, Niagara Falls, the CN Tower and the Medieval Times Tournament.

While the group was at Medieval Times, which specializes in jousting performances, one student became unexpected royalty. As the students cheered for a victorious performer, the armor-clad knight strode over to the group and in gratitude selected one of their number, Grace Albrecht, to be crowned “Queen of Love and Beauty,” and she received a crown and sash declaring as much.

Albrecht was “in shock” when he knelt in front of her, “but I’m royalty, so I’m OK with it,” she laughed.

Father Forman described how the fun activities help the group.

“It really builds the spirit of the group, so that their chemistry is built so they enjoy working together,” he said.

The group finished their journey in the South Bend area again, performing at St. Monica Parish before touring Notre Dame University the next day and returning to St. Louis.

Miller said the group has engaged her deeper in her faith.

“When I was younger, I really couldn’t connect to my faith,” she said. However, she now finds she can “connect to my faith through singing.”

Sharp said the group had taught her valuable leadership skills and given her professional experience, and also highlighted the connection between performance and faith.

“I know what my faith is, I know what I’m doing for my faith, this is a beautiful thing and I’m happy to be doing it,” she said.

>> How to join the group

The Young Catholic Musicians, open to ages 10-18, will be holding auditions during the last two weeks of June and first two weeks of July. There are no fees or dues included in membership. If interested, contact Father Bruce Forman at (314) 231-7464 or revycm@charter.net. The website is www.archstl.org/musicians.

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